tv BBC World News WHUT September 26, 2012 7:00am-7:30am EDT
specialized solutions and capital to help you meet your growth objectives. we offer expertise and tailored solutions for small businesses and major corporations. what can we do for you? >> and now, "bbc world news." >> rape as a weapon of war in syria. disturbing allegations that sexual violence against women and men is going on. the victims of fled across the syrian border bring harrowing testimony of sexual abuse designed to humiliate and degrade. >> one by one. i said please don't do that. >> hello and welcome to gmt.
i'm george alagiah with a world of news and opinion. the first general strike since the new greek government came to power. tens of thousands protest against the yet more cuts. south africa politician charged with money laundering. the allegations against the julius malema are politically motivated, say critics. it's midday in london, 7:00 in the morning in new york, 2:00 in the afternoon in damascus, two large explosions have shaken damascus near the military general staff headquarters. explosions and the smoke over damascus and it shattered windows in nearby buildings. free syrian army said they carried out the attack.
bombs and bullets are not the only weapons in this war. we have had firsthand evidence of rape being used by government forces. we have spoken to some of the victim's. is contains graphic accounts of the attacks taking place. >> it is just one of the many roads on which they flee. quarter million refugees. they bring a handful belongings and stories of crimes that haunt the survivors. wass woman said she arrested at a checkpoint and later repeatedly raped along with three other women. >> a daily rape took place in front of the other girls. that's the time they would take off the blindfold so the girls could see what was happening before their eyes and would not know when their turn was,
whether tomorrow, or after one hour. they did not know. it was done in rotation. >> the witness says the rapes happened in the notorious palestine branch of military intelligence, a building in damascus later bombed by rebels. she said that in interrogator used rats and mice in his violent sexual assault on her and other women. >> she was screaming. afterwards, " we saw blood on the floor." he told her, "is this good enough for you/" they were marking her. it was obvious that she was in agony. after that she no longer move it. -- moved. >> after two months, the witness was helped to escape and fully syria. human rights watch says sexual
violence is used to humiliated and degraded. neither they nor the u.n. has made allegations against the rebel side or the government. what is clear is sexual violence is taking place across syria and is being directed at women and men. >> they hit you. >> these young men were arrested in damascus after taking part in demonstrations against the regime. >> raping me, one by one. i start to say please don't do that. please don't do that. nobody listened to me. and they said this is for freedom. you wanted freedom, this is for freedom, they said.
the officer and the security were just laughing. i was alone. >> we followed this allegation of abuse across the region to istanbul. the general who commanded the center where the young man said that he was raped recently defected to the opposition. he says there was rape and other centers, but he always protected prisoners, he says. this is what the former detainee at your facility said, " they were raping me, there were like animals." that is from the center you ran. >> that is not true when it comes to the time i was there. that is absolutely untrue. if it were true, let him confront me, because i am responsible and can be questioned before any authority
whether national or international. >> the international community gives aid to refugees but it is simply to/o over syria to order a war crimes investigation. we asked the syrian government to respond to the allegations but received no answer. it recently dismissed u.n. reports of torture, including sexual violence as neither accurate nor object of. in the absence of other witnesses and with you and investigators refused access, it is impossible to cooperate rape allegations, but some survivors are determined to speak out. -- impossible to corroborate. >> nobody visits you. nobody here is your voice. it seemed this was our destiny, to be tortured for days and then to dine. >> ---- die.
>> in this society there's a lot of shame on speaking on such a subject. >> i am still afraid for the girls who remained inside. every few days they would bring a new girl. i have now been nowfor six or seven months. how many girls have been brought in during this time? >> as the war escalates, that is the most haunting of questions. bbc news reporting. >> workers in greece have walked out in the first general strike since the coalition government was formed in june. tens of thousands have taken to the streets for the first of two planned demonstrations, seen as a test of public tolerance for more hard ships after harsh spending cuts and tax hikes over the last two years. mark lowen is joining me.
it's not the first strike in athens. will the latest round have any affect? >> it's not likely, because the government has said it will not budge from but path of spending cuts and more austerity. it is under pressure and from the international community, its creditors. it would not get the next 31 billion euro installment and would face bankruptcy and a possible exit from the euro. that's difficult message to sell to the people, because they are a nation between rage and despair. this country is suffering from record unemployment, 24%. a third of greeks below the poverty line. that is what is fueling the social unrest. it is what is making tens of thousands of people come out onto the streets of central athens and other big cities in
this first big general strike since antonis samaras and his government took power in june. >> the government is adamant that it will stick to its plan, but could there be a sense in which these kinds of strikes help the government is looking for some leeway in the timetable in which it has to implement the reforms? >> i think you are right. what antonis samaras, the prime minister, will say to his european counterparts is to look at this groundswell of social unrest and fury bubbling beneath the surface and if the european partners want me to stay in power, then give me some leeway. that will be his message. he's pleading for two more years in which to cut the greek deficit. european leaders say it will really depend on whether greece quickens the pace of reform. we will know more within a matter of weeks when the greek
international lenders publish their support, their assessment on how greece is doing. if it is a largely positive assessment, maybe he might get a little breathing room. maybe he might persuade angela merkel of germany and france want hollande -- francois hollande of france to give him some breathing room. greece could face immense political instability to add to its financial woes. >> thank you very much. austerity strikes under way in greece. the streets of the spanish capital madrid are calm after a night of violent protests. riot police fired rubber bullets at demonstrators who tried to march on the parliament
building, angry at their governments' efforts in spending cuts. now this report from madrid. >> many in the crowd were young. this protest was organized by social media. -- via social media. it was more expensive than other recent demonstrations -- more tense. thousands gathered on the roads in their evening. their path was blocked by hundreds of riot police. and then this. the police moved in, taking out certain people. the police were prepared. 1300 were deployed in the roads around the parliament. they had few problems holding back the protesters. this was yet another demonstration against spain's economic reforms. the government is set to announce yet more austerity measures on thursday. 63 >> it's time for people to
rise up. they're taking us back to the 19th century. >> but for every protester, there are many who did not turn out. all the anger against austerity, there are others who believe the spanish government has to reduce spending and reform the public sector. most protests in spain are still peaceful. but tonight showed there's more attention in a country in recession with high unemployment. now the government's reforms are making life for many here even harder. bbc news, madrid. >> the controversial south african politician julius malema has been charged with money- laundering at the start of a trial that he says is politically motivated. he is accused of using his former position as the leader of the anc's youth league to secure
a provincial government contracts for a firm in which he and his business partners had a stake. andrew harding joins me. we know that julius malema has a popular following. it is possible this file gives him yet another platform. >> it does, as long as it lasts. it's a couple more months before the trial will get under way at the end of november. the prosecutors insist they have a strong case. 16 years in jail if convicted on the money-laundering charge related to claims that he used a trust as a repository for a corrupt government contract. >> these allegations from his side that this whole thing is politically motivated, that will
carry some weight with the population, will it not? >> it will. cartoonish reputation as a populist and a champion of the poor. he does have real support and those people are on the streets today with signs. some say "all will break loose here." we will be interested to see if the charges stick. if so, that will be the end of him. other people will presumably rise to take its place, given the feuding within the anc and huge inequalities within south the african society that he is a champion of. >> the anc is now not the kind
of united party that once was. >> yes. you have two trials running simultaneously. one is very specific about allegations of corruption. corruption is a huge problem in south africa. the other trial is in public opinion. the battle between julius malema and jacob zuma, the president. julius malema has become almost a flag bearer of the opposition, the politicians who want to get jacob zuma out of a leadership role possibly later this year. >> thank you very much. still to come, adoption by legitimacy or intimidation? in nigeria, allegations that some new mothers are being forced to give up their babies.
more than 1 million people in new zealand are taking part in what is believed to be the world's first nationwide earthquake drill. sirens were sounded across the country alerting people to take cover. it comes after last year's earthquake in christ church of which killed nearly 200 people. our correspondent duncan kennedy reports from the region. >> 9:26. the precise time the world's first countrywide earthquake drill began. this is wellington xoo in new zealand-- zoo in new zealand. it was the same been thousands of places all over new zealand. more than 1 million people took part, for around one-third of the total population. >> to make sure we keep letting them know to drop is what to do
in an emergency. es andaging business an homes to be prepared and home and at work. >> last year's earthquake killed 185 people in christchurch and destroying hundreds of buildings. a royal commission into the disaster is due to produce its report in november. new zealand television has been running advertisements to alert people to the exercise, telling them how to respond. >> they know what to do. shouldn't you? >> stop, drop, and roll. >> it could save your life. what's a real earthquake did >> real earthquake did strike north ireland, but it was minor.
>> find out more on our website. we have a comprehensive guide explaining how earthquakes are measured and classified. bbc.com/news. this is gmt from bbc world news. i'm george alagiah. the headlines. refugees continue fleeing the conflict in syria. the bbc hazard allegations of sexual violence including rape in government detention centers. in greece, the first general strike since the coalition government was formed in june. time for the business news with aaron. protests going on in greece. there was tear-gas fired last night in madrid. these are not the kind of things markets like to hear. >> thousands of people on the streets in madrid with rebel its at them.
markets get very jittery. markets are down. the cost of borrowing for companies -- countries like spain is up over 6%. so much to talk about. spain is the new epicenter of the euro zone debt crisis. the next two days are monumental. tomorrow the spanish government will be held on the table the 2013 budget and the new structural reforms which will mean more hardships for those on the ground in the form of cuts. tax increases and spending cuts. on friday we will get the final results from the stress test of the spanish banks. there's no doubt spanish banks probably will need all the $125 billion promised. the prime minister is doing all this, and getting the budget out and reforms on the table ahead of his having to officially go to the euro zone to put his
hands up and say we are going a full-blown bailout. in athens, the $15 billion austerity program has been agreed by the finance minister. now it must be agreed by the coalition and the international lenders. the experts i've spoken with say all the delays in the greek reforms are only making the situation worse. listen to this. >> the actual growth numbers we are seeing are worse than implied in the initial projections for the second bailout. this austerity package has been delayed considerably. it should have originally come through in june. the delay means the outlook is not a lot worse. even if they managed to get this through, it may still not be enough and there's more austerity likely to be required. that will increase tensions
within the coalition. the risk is it could only be a matter of time before the coalition government collapses. anti-austerity party could get it. >> companies, businesses, directors, they have to deal with all this. >> absolutely. lloyd's of market in the world. when you and i go to pay insurance, go to the retail insurance companies. we take out fire insurance and then that company goes to lloyd's of london to underwrite that insurance. so today they said they have made a profit, lloyd's of london made a profit of $2.5 billion in the first six months of this year. last year it got hammered. 2011 was the second most expensive on record for insurance claims. $21 billion.
clouds and earthquakes and the devastation. -- floods and earthquakes and devastation last year. now the euro zone is a problem. toyd's is reducing its risk the euro. >> we have 51 billion pounds worth of assets under. under the european crisis is affecting the global economy, is affecting people's confidence, so it's more challenging for us to make a return on those investments as governments reduce interest rates effectively to zero and it's difficult to find an asset class is to invest in to make a good return. it presents a challenge for us and we're in the business of risk, helping people manage their risks. on the continent in europe, in
greece, spain, people still need to manage their assets and we are there to help them. >> a bit of a silver lining at the end. >> in many countries around the world, laws about adoption are often blurred or ignored. parents desperate to have children if will pay to adopt even if the law forbids the selling of babies. our correspondent in nigeria has been looking into allegations that teenage girls are being separated from their babies even against their own will. >> motherly love for a newborn son. but the 16-year-old came desperately close to losing her child daniel. it was a traumatic fight to prevent him from being taken away at birth or adoption. she did not tell her parents about her pregnancy. she went through this city confused, scared, and with no money. she was vulnerable. a refuge for pregnant girls to occur in for free. she said it was on the understanding she would hand over her baby.
>> i signed with them that i would give them the baby >> . but after son was born, she wanted to keep her son. she told me that a worker from the home and threatened her with jail if she did not give up per baby. >> they were going to arrest me and put me in jail. >> her tears aroused suspicion of diredoctors and nurses. one doctor who said babies are being removed from the hospital even before their mothers are discharged did agree to speak. he told me how worried the girl was when he somber on the ward. >> she was hysterical. she was scared of what was going to happen to her. >> i'm on my way to meet the
people who run the home where she stayed for many months. i will ask whether they are really running this institution in the best interest of all these honorable teenagers. set up by the wife of a state governor, they have taken in 100 girls and most of chosen not to keep their babies. it denies mistreating any of the girls and says they always have a choice. >> even until the very end, we still counsel them and whether they still stand by their decision of whether to hand over or leave with your baby. >> the girl is just glad she managed to keep their baby and is being reunited with a now proud grandmother. kalaba, nigeria. >> a quick reminder of our top story. two large explosions in the
heart of damascus have damaged heavily guarded military headquarters. this comes as the bbc has received firsthand evidence of rape being used to humiliate and degrade detainee's of government forces. stay with us on bbc world news. there's plenty more to come. >> make sense of international news at bbc.com/news. >> funding for this presentation was made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu, newman's own foundation, and union bank. >> at union bank, our
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